Oslo's Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen speaks at a ceremony at Oslo City Hall in Oslo, Norway, Jan. 4, 2019. Norway's capital city Oslo on Friday marked the start of the city's year as European Green Capital 2019 and will act as an ambassador for sustainable urban development. (Xinhua/Liang Youchang)
OSLO, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Norway's capital city Oslo on Friday marked the start of the city's year as European Green Capital 2019 and will act as an ambassador for sustainable urban development.
At a ceremony at Oslo City Hall, Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, handed over the Green Book to Oslo's Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen.
The European Green Capital Award is presented to a European city that is at the forefront of environmentally friendly urban living. Starting in 2010, one European city is selected each year as the European Green Capital of the year.
"Any city can dream of being green, but it takes determination and political leadership to find solutions for the big environmental challenges we are facing today," Vella said. "That is what makes Oslo special."
"In a country known for its wealth of energy resources, Oslo is making great strides in transitioning to a society free of fossil fuel emissions. Its success in increasing public transport and prioritizing people over cars is truly inspiring," he said.
Johansen said Oslo aims to use the European Green Capital year to spread knowledge, inspire and mobilize its citizens and businesses to make more environmentally friendly choices.
"Combating and adapting to climate change is the greatest challenge of our time and it can't be left to someone else, at another time, in another place," Johansen said. "In 2019, we want to invite the world to Oslo -- to share and to learn together."
In 2019 and beyond, Oslo is expected to share and promote best practices that have been tried and tested in the Norwegian city to inspire others to make meaningful environment changes.
Oslo's European Green Capital 2019 program has brought together almost 200 partners to deliver more than 350 planned events, ranging from large, international conferences to small neighborhood events for locals, to engage the entire city.